“House of Cards” with Kevin Spacey which started yesterday on Netflix is, from what I’ve seen so far, on the money, so to speak, regarding our corrupt crony capitalist system . It was a hit in the UK and everybody loves a good political thriller, so Netflix decided to gamble and produce it themselves. They got David Fincher and the guy that wrote “Ides of March”, Beau Willimon, to write the scripts. You can watch all 13 episodes at once too. But Variety calls that “binge viewing” and will lead the company to ruin while Netflix calls it viewer autonomy and believes it can bring in new viewers because of it and make a nifty profit. Hollywood and Silicon Valley rarely see eye to eye, so no surprise at Variety’s harumphing. Whatever! I heartily recommend it. Delicious in its evilness.
As to whether people will cotton to watching one episode or all thirteen, it’s probably just a matter of psychological type or simply how much time you’ve got. When I read, I finish a chapter and often pause because the author does. But just as often I can’t help myself and I have to start reading into the next chapter until I realize that I have to get some shut eye. That is a singular pleasure. On the other hand with a TV series whose episodes only air one at a time, there is the joy of seeing the current episode of a series and then discussing it at the water cooler or water hole the next day and speculating about where the story is going with others. Watching all 13 episodes in one sitting or even half one night and half the other is a more solitary experience and more like reading a book. Watching an episode per week as with normal TV series is a bit more communal. Not quite like going to the theater and sitting at a cafe afterwards and arguing about it, but a not bad second best.
I remember way back when my friends and I were young actors. We went through every detail of Sunday night’s Brideshead Revisited” on Mondays . Now “Downton Abbey” has become the latest “Brideshead” as the characters become part of many of our lives, resist as we might. (What a twit that Lord Grantham is!) So is the new “Netflix” idea going to lead to more community or more aloneness, I wonder? Continue reading